Many hours of news coverage and commentary by "experts" was spent this weekend discussing the comments made by President Trump regarding fact that a few athletes decided to take a knee rather than salute the flag during a football game.
While I understand the initial reaction, and personally would never even consider this level of disregard for the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform I'm finding myself forced to admit to some hard truths that make me wonder what the President was thinking.
This kind of protest and more importantly the right to exercise it is exactly what so many of our friends and family members sacrificed so much to defend. Just off the top of my head I can name more than 30 people who I grew up with that went into the service after high school, at least two of whom are still on active duty more than 20 years later. My father, two cousins, two uncles, a great uncle, and now two nephews have made the same sacrifice.
I am forced to consider that sacrifice in acknowledgment of a deeper truth: that the ability to do stupid and disrespectful things like insulting our Nation, it's flag, and even it's Commander in chief is one of the fundamental freedoms that set America apart from the other nations of the world, and exactly what they all gave so much to defend.
My personal opinion, and even that of the President can't change that any more than it can stop the disgust I feel as the descendant of Jewish immigrants when seeing a Nazi flag carried down the street by teenage idiots with no concept or concern for the visceral response it provokes not only in people who share my heritage but from the Veterans who were in Europe during the 2nd World War fighting to make sure that symbol of hatred never flew over any nation again.
While I will continue to salute the flag when appropriate, and certainly have raised my children to do the same, we as citizens need to realize that one of the costs of Freedom; that the people who we disagree with have just as much right to exercise freedom of speech and expression as you, I, and yes even the President. For better or worse that right does not carry with it a requirement to be thoughtful, considerate, or intelligent.